when i was growing up in my calm, cookie-cutter suburban town, i lived across the street from a kindly old couple that practiced the dark arts. they had a little garden and tended butter cups and primrose. they both had white hair. woody, the husband, drove a sit-down lawnmower across the grass every saturday morning. nana, his wife, baked us casseroles when our parents left town. at halloween she gave out toothbrushes and dimes. this was a clear sign of inner darkness. they also had a little white dog--another sign of damnation, as well as a forward indicator of manhattan fashion trends. at night, flashes of blue-white light emanated from the windows to the side of their front portico, and i knew that inside, they were boiling the flesh of newborns in newt oil.
then one got alzheimer's, and the other got senile, and they moved into a nursing home.